D# (D#, G, A#) is one of those slightly underappreciated chords. Depending on what style of music you're most into playing, there's a chance you won't run into it very often, but when you do, you'll want to be prepared to tackle it head on.
Now, there are plenty of chord guides that will show you one or two easy ways to play D# Major on your guitar, but the downside there is that those voicings are typically underpowered and tend to get drowned out when you're jamming in a group setting.
So, today, we're going to show you those simple ways to play the D# chord (giving you chance to get your feet wet), then we'll be heading straight for the deep waters with some advanced D# chord voicings that will make your playing that much more powerful.
As promised, we'll be starting simple, with the most common voicing of D# you can find. Pay attention to that finger shape, and you'll notice it's almost identical to a D Major chord, just moved up a fret to create a new sound:
If you know how to play D Major, then D# Major should come to you easily.
One problem you might run into with this particular voicing is getting your pinky to cooperate with you. You've got to stretch up to the 4th fret, and bunch your 4th finger between your 2nd and 3rd to get all the notes you need for the chord. If your pinky skills are underdeveloped, take it slow, and try running through a few exercises to improve your range and dexterity.
There's also one alternative for D# that incorporates that D Major shape, but adds a few additional notes for the chord further up the fretboard on the 4th and 5th string:
This version should provide you with a bit more bass in your sound, giving you a "chunkier" chord that will be more audible when you're playing with your buddies.
This D# variant makes use of all your strings, but getting your fingers that close together that high on the fretboard might prove challenging at first. Fall back on the techniques you've learned for forming proper barre chords, and try to be as accurate as possible so your fingertips don't start sliding into the wrong frets here.
If you consider yourself accurate when it comes to picking, then give this next D# voicing a try as well. It uses only the inside four strings, keeping strings 1 and 6 out of the picture:
As long as you're careful about strumming, this voicing should be an easy one. Remember -- short precise strokes will help ensure you hit only the strings you need.
We've only started scratching the surface of the D# Major chord, but what we've covered today should be more than enough to prepare you for the fateful day when you'll actually need to use one of these voicings in a song. Remember that you'll have more success memorizing and playing any chord when you work at it regularly, so with that in mind, good luck, and happy practicing!
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